About Costa Rica Costa Rica Airports

Costa Rica’s International Airports San Jose and Liberia

More then a million tourists come every year to Costa Rica. Two International Airports service these flights - Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO) in Alajuela, northwest of SanJose and Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR)

Regional Flight Information (Sansa and NatureAir)


Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO)

20 km from the capital, more than a million tourists come every year to Costa Rica, , the International Airport Council (IAC) announced that the Juan Santamaria Airport in Alajuela, northwest of San Jose, is the third best airport in the Latin American and Caribbean region, as well as the regions ‘best improved’ airport when in 2010 the airport went under a significant expansion adding an immigration terminal with 28 positions as well as a new security checkpoint.

The Juan Santamarian Airport is Costa Rica’s main international airport, located just a few minutes outside of San Jose in Alajuela. The airport has very recently been renovated, and is a clean, pleasant, efficiently-run airport. Passengers and employees only are allowed inside the terminal area, serving to make the airport a safe and efficient experience for arrivals and departures.

After debarking from their flight, visitors proceeed through corridors to the international area, then check through the Immigration checkpoint. Visitors in transit remain in the internation area, where they may pass the time browsing souvenier shops, book stores, sample coffees and have a meal. If the wait in transit is longer, up to 48 hours, visitors may choose to enjoy some local sights. In which case all is required is to continue through the Immigration checkpoint, and pay a transit tax when returning within 48 hours.

The carousels for claiming luggage have separate carousels for oversized luggage and special equipment (pets, surfboards, etc). Trolleys use is complimentary, and bellboys are available for a voluntary fee.

Run by a private company named Alterra Partners, the Juan Santamaria Airport has the usual range of souvenir shops, cafés, and duty free stores. There is also a food court in the airport with 3 fast food restaurants and a host of other eateries. You can also find money exchange counters and ATM. There are car rentals, taxis, airport shuttles from various main hotels and public buses right outside ready to take you where you want to go.

Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR)

A mere kilometer from Highway 21, the Liberia International Airport, now known as Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport was named for the president that served from 1974 to 1978. The airport is located 217km (135 miles) northwest of San Jose; fast becoming the airport of choice for those looking forward to vacation along the beaches of Guanacaste in the North Pacific region. The airport consists of a two story building with outdoor shaded seating areas. On the ground floor you will find the airline desks for check ins and money exchange. Upstairs are the bathrooms and a small café, as well as the Airport administration offices and a couple of airline offices. The airstrip is fitted for 737’s and 757’s which are the most common airplanes to visit the airport; as many as 45 scheduled commercial flights are expected each week.

Plans for a future terminal include a main building with gates and jetways, duty-free shops and restaurants in order to compete in size with the Juan Santamaria International airport. Taxis, airport transfers and public buses will take you either to the city of Liberia or get you on your way to the North Pacific Coastal areas.

International Flight and Visa Tips

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